284 Victoria St Richmond, VIC 3121
|Prices||Moderate (mains $20-$40)|
|Phone||03 8394 3487|
We're living in an Uber age of getting what we want, when we want it, and the all-day diner is booming as a result. Recent northside hits include Archie's All Day, Bedford Street and now Holla, a cheerful warehouse affair which opened mid-June on the site of a former homewares store in the pho belt.
It's an easygoing venture which transitions from coffee cafe to late-lunch spot to wine bar over the course of a day. Want poached eggs at 3pm? No problem. How about some hard liquor for breakfast? Alright then. They even have a cute name for breakfast cocktails here, "antifogmatics" – "An alcoholic drink taken in the morning to brace oneself before going out into bad weather" – well suited to the Melbourne climate, then.
Owners Matt Ward and Mitch Haworth (of Camberwell's Prospect Espresso and Toorak's Townhouse) are certainly pro-day-drinking – check out the range of boozy milkshakes if you want to sneak in a subtle shot, they're jam-jarred blends of sweet vanilla bean ice cream and Frangelico, perhaps, or peanut butter and chocolate masking a shot of bourbon (all $16). It's more of an indulgent novelty dessert than a serious cocktail. The house bloody mary is better for purists, a slug of bacon washed tequila poured with coriander, chilli and tomato juice.
The rest of the plentiful drinks list is suitably of-the-moment. Sample beer on tap, a local-ish raft of wines including a Yarra Valley rosé and a Heathcote shiraz and a Mornington chardonnay, all under $70 a bottle, with several by the glass.
The fitout is all-important here and makes a swish statement, a peaked industrial roof of white wooden beams and foil cladding fringed with grippy vines lending a vaguely '70s Euro-greenhouse vibe to the narrow room. A long granite bar and open kitchen runs almost the full length of one side, banquettes and dramatic (though slightly uncomfortable) caged booths lined up officiously along the other, a trompe-l'œil mural that's part Play School windows, part Escher drawing, the bold graphic design flourishes reminiscent of city stalwart Lupino.
The food menu naturally covers a lot of bases: big hearty breakfast staples, or maybe a juicy Angus beef burger with bacon and smoky romesco and shoestring fries with rosemary mayo. It's a good burger. Other dishes are also on a more substantial dinner menu, such as a light salad of sliced duck, with crumbled goat's cheese, baby beetroot, hazelnuts and pureed pumpkin.
Holla certainly cries out to be heard among the Vietnamese joints and grocers of Victoria Street and makes a welcoming place to get what you want, when you want it. Better Uber it there.
Pro Tip: There's a "feed me" menu for $55 a head.
Go-to Dish: Duck salad, $16; Bacon bloody mary, $17.